Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I start each weekend with a positive attitude.  There will be NO bars this weekend.  We DON't have a problem.  Each weekend it happens.  Bars.  Again and again.  I am beginning to doubt my abilities as a trainer and handler.  Am I causing the bars?  Some people say yes.  Some people say it is a possible injury.  I get lots of opinions and I welcome them.  I am just as puzzled as everyone else. He's been checked out by a vet, a chiropractor and numerous massage ladies.  Nothing can be found wrong physically.   It's always different.  Sometimes it is on a turn.  Some times it is on the flat.  Some times it is a spread with a mix of back bar versus front bar.  Sometimes it is an absolute splat.  Luckily we only had one splat this weekend and it was a single bar jump.  I have been trying verbal corrections and while I haven't seen any net return in them, I do think it makes him aware he is messing up.  This splat was right after one and I think he was thinking about the fact that I was not happy and not the fact that he needed to be jumping the jump that was in front of him. I need to really pull him from the course but I am having a hard time doing so.  I know I have just NQ anyway so what is it worth to finish the run.  This weekend it was the toughness of the courses.  They are amazingly hard and amazingly fun.  That is what USDAA is for me.  It is like crack cocaine.  We don't get to use our super cool training tools very often but this weekend, every course I got to try something new from my handling tool box.  So i Just wanted to get to those parts and I did.  But for what?  Am I letting him think that the new normal is plow through jumps?  I did a pretty harsh verbal correction after he had knocked his third bar on the jumpers run.  By harsh I mean I used his first and last name.  Yep.  Pulled that card.  He splatted the last jump right after the correction and then proceeded to squat in the ring. I luckily pulled him off the course before explosive diarrhea happened.  Just over that one correction.  So is pulling him going to be a good thing or a bad thing?  In training if he knocks a bar, I do a down and i pick up the bar while making some unhappy sounding uh oh.  That is it.  Then he gets to get up and try that jump again and if he gets it, he gets a big party.  So i don't know how to transfer that to the ring.  Use to, when he knocked a bar, he would almost shut down.  He knew instantly that he was in the wrong.  I blogged about it before because it was almost too much recognition.  I wanted to finish the course, not have him trot around looking at me like I beat him.

 For the record, I have NEVER beat my dog, but he sure acts like it when he knows I am unhappy.  In some ways he is SUPER soft but in other ways, super tough.  He wants to be right and he knows via my body language alot of times that he has done wrong.  So what am I to do?  Starting NO BARS bootcamp that my friend Ami is developing.  Already starting on homework this week.  I welcome any and all suggestions.  Heck at this point, if someone said stand on your head three days a week and eat brie, if it would prevent bars, I would.  It is tough to have 10 runs, 7 with one bar, 2 with three bars (both jumpers) and one clean with a first place and a smoking time.  It is like having a kid that you know could make straight As yet they make Cs and you are left scratching your head to figure out what is going on in their head.  Yes, the footing was pure crap but he should be able to adjust by now.  It was dirt and it was cloddy and deep until we packed it down later in the day.  I am not concerned about that footing at all.  He should adjust no matter what it is. Part of my strategy is that  I am not showing till regionals in august.  Planned a dog show and a run on the same day and can't get my money back from the run.  Maybe, maybe might go down to OKC after the run is done and do one day of USDAA.  That is it till late august.  The goal of this summer is to figure out what is going on and how to fix it.

To end I will tell my tornado story for the weekend.  I was getting ready to get in my car when I saw someone who lives down in OK post on FB that they were predicting it to be the worst tornado day of all.  Uh, hmm, they just had a HUGE tornado down in Moore so what could be worse?  I had planned on getting gone after my PT but couldn't resist a last minute lunch with andrew at daycare.  So I didn't get going till almost 2 pm.  I thought i would be okay till sun down (around 9ish) but boy was I wrong.  As I drove further south, I could see storms brewing to the east but my gut was telling me that they were pretty far off.   Then the weather alerts started.  Unfortunately they were giving county names, not city names so I had no clue where it was going to hit.  As I was heading into a town called sycamore, they announced sycamore as being in the path of a tornado.  I could see funnel clouds but nothing touching down so I headed on south.  Again I felt they were east of me heading north west so I felt like moving south was the best thing.  Then I get to a little town called independance and the sirens were going off.  It wasn't doing anything weatherwise at the time but you could see several rotations but again all to the east.  I finally pulled off and went into a liquor store.  I asked if I needed to take shelter.  The clerk claimed the tornado was north of where i was and that if I drove south, I should be okay. SO i got back in my van and deuce and I headed south as quickly as my little van would take us.  It was pretty scaring hoping that we were doing the right thing, not really knowing for sure.  My gut was right but there were more storms on the way.  A very large tornado was on the ground in OKC and fatalities were being reported.  The hotel didn't have a basement so we were all gathering in the lobby.  Deuce was in heaven because he thought they were all there to see him.  For whatever reason, the storms headed right at us dissipated right before they hit tulsa and we were able to get some sleep.  Everyone was calling and texting me, trying to check on me so I felt much love.  Agility friends really are the best :)  It really was a crazy weekend.  I ended up saturday in my pjs, in bed at 8 pm watching Titanic (which I have seen 100 times before) drinking summer shandy and bawling like an idiot through most of the last half of the movie.  Then at the end, when Jack dies and they show the dead frozen bodies in the water and they pan to a man holding a baby dead, I just lost it.  Starting putting on clothes and vowing to drive home even though  it was 10:30 at this point.  Yeah, pregnancy has turned me into a hormonal crying idiot.  Decided i had one too many shandys and put my pjs back on and instantly went to sleep.  Yeah, thank you pregnancy for also fixing my insomnia issues I had. Anyway to wrap up since I am now rambling, it was a crazy, stress filled obsession about bars weekend but in a strange way, pretty much all of his runs were gorgeous, so I walked away obsessing about the bars but happy?  It was a strange feeling.